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Die Sache Makropulos
Sat, 19. Feb 2022, 19:30

Opera in three acts by Leoš Janáček

Premiere Kachel
Premiere Kachel

A documentary account of a rather dry inheritance dispute, a crime drama, a meta-opera featuring a singer playing a singer, a treatise on the sense and nonsense of human immortality. »The Makropulos Affair« is all of the above. With inexplicably detailed background knowledge, opera diva Emilia Marty inserts herself into a century-long inheritance dispute and recklessly exploits her irresistibility to men for her own cryptic purposes.

No one suspects that somewhere among the tall stacks of paper from the court battle lies a mysterious old recipe for an elixir that can extend life by 300 years. Marty has already taken the potion once and is now trying to get it back in order to extend her life a second time. But after literally stopping at nothing to get her hands on the recipe, when she finally holds it, she realises the price of eternal life. Janáček’s penultimate opera is his most peculiar, and not only because of its surprising plot twists. The main theme of all his operas – love – appears here in in relief, in the form of its absence. In his operatic adaptation, Janáček transforms the aloof frigidity and irony of Karel Čapek’s original play into a veritable tragedy that provokes sympathy for its unapproachable, weary and emotionally impoverished lead character. After »Jenůfa«, during the previous season, Simon Rattle continues his Janáček series at the Staatsoper with »Věc Makropulos«, which is undoubtedly the composer’s most rugged score.